Kismet's Fantasy Location Building Resources



Million isles and the coastline terrarium map

"Million isles and the coastline terrarium map"by ThemeFinland (resized) is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0



I've seen a number of city generators over the years, from printed charts to standalone programs, and while some have been neat, none of them have scratched my itch just right. Online generators seem to skimp on options to keep things simple, and random roll tables in books don't provide fast ways to use them. So I've created two resources to help you generate fantasy locations (I'll be presenting modern options on my World of Darkness site, and you can add material for other genres, if you wish). Both methods are system agnostic and flexible. With a little effort, you can make them what you want and need them to be for your game or writing project.

Option 1: The Google Workbook

First, I've made a series of Google worksheets to record all the pertient details about locations. The entire workbook can be downloaded in Google Sheets (save a copy to your Google Drive or download it from the File menu). You can use the sheets to outline your cities, neighborhoods, and buildings, and you can consult the lists of options in the Data sheet, if you get stuck. This can also be a handy way to record the results you get from my RPG ChartMaker generators.

Below is a preview of the worksheets. If you find errors, want to suggest additions, or have other feedback to help me make the worksheets even better, please feel free to contact me.



Option 2: Random Generator Files

I've also taken all of the data from the workbook and made three random generator files that you can load and use at the RPGChartMaker website. The first generator covers the basics of a location, such as age, reputation, and population. The second file covers extras that can be nice to know about a place, such as historic events, climate, and important buildings. The last one allows you to generate NPC groups (guilds, cults, and so on). Learn how to use these files here.

Here's what the generator results look like:

Preview of the Location Basics Generator

What to Expect

The Location Basics Generator starts with genre, age, reputation, and personality traits (strength and weakness). Reputation and specialty establish how people generally feel about the area and what it's known for. Genre, strength, and weakness are fun ways to make a place distinctive. Genre is likely to affect what the area looks like and common interests of the people who live there. Strength and weakness refer to the location's overall personality. You can also generate population size and wealth, government, security, law enforcement, and general crime level. Access, repair, impression, sanitation, lighting, water source, and streets round out the options. Yes, all of that is covered in the basic generator!

The Location Extras Generator helps you dig a little deeper in seconds. You can learn about the place's origin and recent events. Develop a city or neighborhood further by spinning up a landmark, notable district, and important buildings. Notable rooms and shops develop buildings. A city's major industry and shortage, technology level, and mass transit can lead to many plots. The extras generator includes climate, terrain, and natural feature as well.

There's also a Generator for NPC Groups. Why? Because many locations have organizations tied to them, and knowing which gatherings exist can help you figure out who's likely to be around.

Some Things To Keep In Mind

When you randomly generate a whole bunch of aspects at once, you may get some results you don't like or that don't make sense. When that happens, you have some creative choices to make. You can ignore the results and figure them out later. If you roll multiple sets at once, you can choose a better result from another set. Or you can challenge yourself to explain why the outlier exists, which can be a fun exercise. The choice is up to you!

Generally, the more unique a place is, the more the people in it will reflect its strength and weakness in their attitudes and responses. You don't have to worry about the personality of the city, neighborhood, and building at the same time, however. Highlight the city's traits in one scene and the neighborhood's in another. Every now and then, show how they interact, such as building vs. neighborhood or city vs. character.

For example, you can have a city known and built for romance: it has lovely views, many intimate restaurants, quaint carriage rides, the works. But that same city could have a neighborhood that's famous for being haunted (mystery or horror genre). This could mean it has beautiful cemeteries, historic homes rife with rumors of ghosts, spooky tours and a quiet vibe that's notably distinct from the rest of the city. Or it could mean that the neighborhood's genre is influenced by the city's and musicians perform in the cemeteries where couples listen while picnicking on date night. The city's strength could be appreciation and its flaw could be coldness: the people there easily adore pleasant things but coldly shun whatever - or whomever - they find to be unlikable.

If you don't need generators much or at all, that's cool. But there are many reasons why they can assist you in your game or writing project. You might be low on energy or time or having trouble focusing (or, gods forbid, all three at once); these things happen. You could be stuck and drawing a blank. You may feel bored with a creation but not know where to inject some variety into it. None of these things need to stop you from moving forward. If any of my generators can help you at all, I'm glad. I know they've helped me, which is why I offer them freely here.


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Resources are free for personal use; please do not offer them for sale or claim them as your own work.

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